Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Garden Bug ID
I am sending this for my 8 year old that is VERY interested in bugs and science. We have found two of these bugs, both in our backyard garden on our crookneck squash plant on the leaves. We live in Charlotte, NC. It's back legs are very thick and armor like; you can't see that in the pictures.
ANSWER: Hi Kim: This is a moth called the Squash vine borer ,Milittia cucurbitae.
They attack all types of squash and melons
They lay eggs on the stems and the caterpillars burrow into the stem. Once inside the stem an insecticide cannot affect them and hey feed on the plant tissues. They can kill the entire plant. Examine the underside of the leaves for brownish red eggs and brush the off. You can also spray the leaves with a pyrethrum based insect spray.
If you can capture one have your son put one in a jar and observe it. They are beautiful with the clear wings open.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Walter,
Thanks for identifying our bug! Got another one for you. This bug is only 3/8" long. My daughter found him on the patio of our backyard in Charlotte, NC. Attached are pictures.
This is an interesting find. This is the larvae of the False Bombadier Beetle. It is called false because it mimics a true Bombadier Beetle warning predators to leave it alone. Why? The real Bombadier beetle when disturbed shoots a hot noxious vapor out of it's abdomen that can kill predatory insects and even burn human skin. The vapor is close to 100 degrees C